John Oliver totally nails our food problems

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In 17 minutes, John Oliver totally nailed everything that’s wrong with food in America:

When I was a barista, I set up a donation program for our morning pastries. After 2pm, whatever wasn’t sold went in the garbage, so I arranged for someone from a residential mental health facility to come and pick them up on a daily basis. Sandwiches and salads had a one-day shelf life, and for all the reasons John Oliver discussed, we couldn’t donate them. Our solution was to bag them and place the night’s sandwiches next to the trash bin on Michigan Ave., rather than out in the dumpster, thus unofficially “donating them” to the homeless in the area.

Our dorms here in Dublin have common kitchens, each consisting of four waste bins: glass, waste, plastic and paper, and food. That’s right, food and waste aren’t the same thing. It’s been really great to live in a place where composting isn’t weird, but also a little bit frustrating to watch my American flatmates try to adjust. Not to rat on them, but I’ve found spinach in the waste bin, and plastic bags in the food bin (bins with labels on them as to what you should and shouldn’t throw in). To me, it’s a sign that we’ve conditioned ourselves into thinking that once we’re done with something it doesn’t matter where it goes. Just stick it in a bin, and it’s not our problem anymore.

I could go on, but if seeing this gets one person to eat around the bruise on an apple and throw the core next to a tree rather than tossing the whole thing in the trash, then I feel pretty good about today.

Two places in Dublin you have to go.

The Fumbally reminds me of a chic Wicker Park slow food place... but more friendly

There is a lot to see in Dublin, despite it being a relatively small city. Everything is pretty much walking distance from everything, which sometimes makes the city maps really confusing.

I digress.

If you find yourself in Dublin, there are typical touristy places like Dublin Castle and the Book of Kells. You should probably go there, but if you know anything about me then you know that I’m not a traveller who typically likes to visit tourist traps. What I enjoy when traveling is really good food and drink, and I have two recommendations that you must not miss. Continue reading

Then there was that time I lived in Dublin for 5 weeks…

Dublin has great doors. The one here at St. Anne's Church is one of my favorites.

I’ve been distant, I know. It’s not you, it’s me.

The seaside market at Dun Laoghaire has been a favorite spot.
The seaside market at Dun Laoghaire has been a favorite spot.

You see, I’ve been hanging out with another blog whilst in Dublin for a five week study abroad program. I’m now four weeks in, and if I’m being honest here, I don’t have really have time for this. I just really needed a study break.

But I feel it’s important to communicate something: even though I’m up to my ass in school work, I’ve been trying to do a good amount of “experiencin,'” too, and I have to say, Dublin is kind of amazing. It’s got all the beauty and charm of other European cities I’ve visited, with the added bonuses of a language I can understand and really unpretentious citizens. In fact, I can easily say that Dublin is one of the most pleasant cities I’ve visited, at least, once I got my bearings. Continue reading

I did a Pinterest thing that didn’t totally suck.

Mason jar herb garden: Lauren's version

I’ve had my fair share of epic domestic fails, particularly when trying to recreate things that I find from Pinterest. I think I can be pretty capable in the DIY department, but, you know, Pinterest forces us (or at least me) to set unrealistic expectations about what is actually DIY-possible.

We moved into a slightly bigger apartment a few months ago, and it’s been fun to get to settle in and figure out where things go. Our kitchen is bigger, with a huge butler’s pantry. It’s the Ritz Carlton of kitchens, as far as I’m concerned, and I’ll tell you more about that later. We’ve also now got a nice big deck, and I managed to plant some flowers out there this summer. The only problem is, the deck is shaded 90% of the time, so, not ideal for growing herbs and veggies. I’ll tell you more about that later, too.

I’ve pretty much given up on the idea of community gardening, not because I don’t believe in it, but because I’ve spent the last two summers paying $75 to watch a bunch of vegetables die. Even though our garden was only a mile a way, getting there was hard, because, life. When I was able to go, there was this walk of shame past all the beautiful, bountiful beds to our pathetic little patch filled with green beans, three strawberries, dead tomato plants and a bunch of weeds.

Anyway… where was I? Right. DIY. Continue reading

Open Hearts and Pocketbooks at Hubbard Street’s $800K Evening

Heather Mabie, Stephanie Curley, and Jack Colley. Photo by Robert F. Carl.

Those folks at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago sure know how to throw a party. I didn’t really think they could top last year’s Spotlight Ball featuring THE Mikhail Baryshnikov, but all the fancies came out of the woodwork for a beautiful, inspiring, and incredibly lucrative night for Hubbard Street. Between gala tickets, silent auction and an exciting live auction netting $200K, Monday’s Spotlight Ball brought in more than $800,000 to benefit artistic and educational programming, so it was a pretty good day in the office for them.

I managed to rock my $10 dress from Marshalls and didn’t get embarassingly drunk. So I call it a big win for me, too. Continue reading

We did a really embarrassing photo shoot.

Julie and Lauren

Two things:

1) Hiring somebody to help plan your wedding is a really good idea. It wasn’t too difficult to convince our entertainment savvy neighbor Phillip to help us. Otherwise we probably would be ordering pizza and putting Instagram selfies on the invitation.

2) We are extremely serious people. Not really. Which makes an engagement photo shoot really awkward. Fortunately we had a lot of help not looking like dweebs from my friend Ashley at A. Deran Photography. Well, ok, sometimes we still looked like dweebs, but that’s not Ashley’s fault. Continue reading